Ellensburg, Washington is a University Anchored City

You’ll find higher than average levels of education, and a youthful and vibrant workforce who are job ready to meet your business needs. Click on either of the images below to view it at a larger size.



CenterFuse seeks to connect businesses with the resources so they can start, grow, and prosper. In January 2023, CenterFuse applied for and secured grant funding from the Washington State Community Economic Revitalization Board to perform a study on artist production and performance space in Ellensburg. Place Dynamics was awarded the professional services contract to perform the work, and Michael Stumpf of Place Dynamics visited Ellensburg during the month of July 2023.

Ellensburg is filled with talent – talented actors, musicians, singers, dancers of all ages who seek to perform before an attentive audience. Yet they struggle to find space to create and share their talents. Performance space at area schools and Central Washington University (CWU) is overcommitted and costly. While the strong support of the arts by CWU and area schools is present, the primary constituency of both institutions is not the local arts community. This leads to lack of dedicated space for rehearsal, performances on a limited budget, maker space, and spaces for collaboration that fall outside of school-based programs. Many creative ideas and projects over the years fail to bear fruit due to the lack of a space.

CenterFuse is seeking a professional services consulting to conduct a feasibility study to identify and assess production and performance space needs and availability.

The scope of work included:

  • Stakeholder Needs Identification
  • Site Analysis
  • Environmental Scan
  • Position for Success

The CenterFuse board and the Ellensburg Arts and Culture Alliance met jointly on November 8, 2023 to hear a presentation of the final study findings. The CenterFuse board unanimously adopted the final study which you can view here.

Incentives for Moving Your Business to Ellensburg

Washington offers businesses a range of incentives that are geared toward specific industries that are high growth and which fit into our sector-based strategy for economic prosperity.

Some of these incentives come in the form of tax credits, exemptions or deferrals for specific activities, such as adding new equipment, investing in new technologies or energy sources, or building new manufacturing facilities or hiring workers in rural communities. Washington State Department of Commerce offers a list of incentives.

Many businesses may qualify for several Washington State Department of Revenue tax incentives. These incentives include deferrals, reduced B&O rates, exemptions, and credits. There are many state incentives you can take advantage of—some have an average savings of $100,000, while others offer thousands of dollars in tax credits for new hires. Here are a few:

  • B&O tax credit for new hires: up to $4,000 credit for each new position
  • Job skills program—competitive grant: average savings of $100,000
  • Manufacturers of biodiesel fuel, biodiesel alcohol fuel, and feedstock and wood biomass fuel get a B&O tax reduction of 0.138% (instead of 0.484%)
  • For a full list of incentives organized by industry, check out Washington State Tax Incentives.
Who Benefits?

Maybe you. There are a myriad of industries and sectors that may benefit from tax incentives. Here are the general incentive categories:

  • General manufacturing
  • Rural county/community empowerment zone (CEZ) incentives
  • High unemployment county/CEZ
  • High technology industry
  • Aerospace industry
  • Extracting & timber manufacturing
  • Food processing/manufacturing industry
  • Biofuel industry
  • Semiconductor industry
  • Aluminum smelting industry
  • Farming & agriculture
  • Renewable energy/green incentives
  • Miscellaneous incentive programs
  • Warehouse incentive programs

See all of Washington State’s tax incentives here.

There are many local incentives available as well.

Opportunity Zones

Ellensburg’s two Opportunity Zones provide a tax incentive for investors to re-invest their unrealized capital gains into dedicated Opportunity Funds.

Ellensburg has two Opportunity Zones for business investors who are looking for a financial tool to reduce the impact of capital gains. The federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 was signed into law on Dec. 22, 2017. The Opportunity Zone program was included in that act, which was designed to provide tax incentives to investors who fund businesses in underserved communities. Investors can defer paying taxes on capital gains that are invested in distressed communities designated as Opportunity Zones by the governor.

Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) #203

Ellensburg and the whole of Kittitas County is designated as FTZ #203. In the United States (U.S.), a foreign-trade zone (FTZ) is a geographical area, near a U.S. Port of Entry, where commercial merchandise, both domestic and foreign receives the same Customs treatment it would if it were outside the commerce of the U.S. Merchandise of every description may be held in the zone without being subject to tariffs (customs duties) and other ad valorem taxes. This tariff and tax relief is designed to lower the costs of U.S.-based operations engaged in international trade and thereby foster global competitiveness.

Traffic Impact Fees

Expanding the street network and non-motorized, or active transportation infrastructure is important to a growing community. Traffic impact fees are collected for projects during the building permit process. These fees are used on prescribed projects on the City’s vehicular and active transportation systems and are only used to fund infrastructure projects that increase capacity. Some projects are exempt or partially exempt, including those with no net peak hour trip increase, low-income housing, and early learning centers. In addition, there is a 50% fee reduction for those building permits in the commercial and industrial zones, and a 100% reduction for those in the central commercial zones.

New Markets Tax Credit

The New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) was designed to increase the flow of capital to businesses and low income communities by providing a modest tax incentive to private investors. Over the last 15 years, the NMTC has proven to be an effective, targeted and cost-efficient financing tool valued by businesses, communities, and investors across the country. Ellensburg has two qualifying census tracts. This incentive is set to sunset on 12/31/2025.

Tax Increment Financing

Tax increment financing (TIF) is a method of redistributing property tax collections within designated areas to finance infrastructure improvements within these designated areas. This financing tool was made available to cities in Washington in 2021 to fund local infrastructure projects.

Additional Resources